Author: Patience Thandi Gumbio (South Africa) | Uploaded on 1 June 2022


Read what a teacher says about this activity:

This is a mixed listening, speaking and writing activity for pairs. A role play helps learners to practise their speaking and helps them to be confident in using vocabulary.

Stage 1: Prepare 

Choose a category for a conversation /role play you want your learners to practise, e.g.  Small talk, Asking for directions, Tell me about your childhood, Everyday routines etc. 

Prepare a conversation exercise – Comparing childhood and now

Write useful phrases on the board: 

Where did you use to…? 

Did you use to…? 

Are you serious? What fun!

What else did you use   to….?

With learners, complete two or three sentences, using the phrases on the board.

Example: Where did you use to live?

Ask for a response

Stage 2: Model  

Demonstrate the role play with one strong learner.

An example for the roleplay: 

Teacher: John, where did you use to live?

Learner: I used to live in Pietermaritzburg.

Teacher: Who were your friends?

Learner: They were Sipho and Muzi.

Teacher: Did you use to….?

Learners: [answer] 

Stage 3: Role Play 

  • Put the learners in pairs. Give them cards to write their role play on.
  • Tell them to prepare questions and answers about their childhood.
  • In pairs, learners write down questions and answers on the cards.
  • They practise the conversation by reading from the cards.
  • One asks, the other answers. Then they change roles.
  • Next, they practise speaking without using the cards.
  • Teacher monitors learners by walking around, listening to pairs.
  • Pairs take turns to role-play their conversation in front of the class.
  • Circulate, monitor and help.  

Stage 4: Extend 

If you want, you can extend the activity: 

  • Have learners role play again, with a different partner.  
  • Learners can now prepare a conversation they might have… At the marketplace, Visiting a health facility etc.
  • Teacher reads their conversation cards.
  • Have them practise with another learner.
  • For homework they can practise their conversations in a real-life situation. 

Reflection/ evaluation: After the homework activity, learners can talk about how they found the conversation: What was easy? What was difficult? What would they do differently next time? 


Ways that students may evaluate themselves can be through:

  • Rubrics
  • Surveys
  • Checklists
  • Fill-in the blank
  • Writing prompts
  • Sharing verbally


Category: A system for dividing things into different groups/types.  

Circulate: To move around the classroom.  

Monitor: Keep an eye on learners to see how well an individual, group or class is doing a particular task. 

Demonstrate: To show and explain how learners should do a task.   

Reflection: Learners think about what they have done.